the intersection of sports and society.

sports has always been an outlet for me. i remember as a kid, playing sports was that one escape, whether it was playing basketball or baseball with my neighbors or trading cards with my friends.

i loved the element that sports brought into my life. the aspect of teamwork, the hard work, the dedication the elite athletes have toward their craft – all of this was inspiring to me. i always thought of sports as the one area of my life that couldn’t get messed with by “real life”.

and now…

we have donald sterling.

the ncaa.

social media.

tim tebow

johnny manziel.

it doesn’t really seem like it’s really about the game anymore. it seems like it is all about the money, the fame, how to get as many “likes” and “follows”.

sports has long played a huge role in society, of course. these days, its role is even more important

 jackie robinson, muhammad ali, jesse owens, joe louis.

these names are synonymous with sports and society. you cannot really think of one without how they spurred social change, or maybe simply social outrage in some cases. but now, it seems that what is important is not necessarily standing up for social change, but standing up for social media. it’s not about what good sports does for society anymore. the way issues are portrayed these days is embarrassing. what amounts to an issue – what is considered news – is even more embarrassing.

tim tebow prayed to jesus and that was considered controversial. why? who cares?

johnny manziel loves to party. so? why do we care so much?

it’s not just about how disgraceful it is that the dallas cowboys still call themselves ‘america’s team’ or that no one truly still likes the new york yankees (even though, as a detroit tigers fan, i still respect the yankees, 27 championships is… well… 27 championships).

it’s more than that.

we have always longed for our best athletes to take more of a social standing in our communities. we begged for michael jordan to make statements and take a stance on issues. i suppose he was right when he said “republicans buy shoes too”, but is it always about the shoes? probably today he would say something like “republicans have twitter too”. 

there is still more that can be done. i respect lebron james for organizing the miami heat’s stance for trayvon martin and again lebron and chris paul for speaking so strongly against donald sterling. the intersection between sports and society is as volatile as it has ever been. with the rise of social media and the access fans have to their favorite athletes, these stars have a much more important role in society than ever before.

the notion that athletes are just sports stars and should not be involved in society is silly.

i threw out donald sterling’s name (i’d like to just throw him out entirely). i don’t really have anything to add that hasn’t been said already. i’m just curious why it took a billionaire saying a mean thing about another wealthy person for anyone to notice what a deplorable man he is. because of his role in sports, there was an opportunity to expose him years ago. i suppose the articles that have been written about him over the years about his horrendous treatment of the impoverished were not enough. who cares about the poor right? it’s not so much of a race issue as it is a issue of classes.

rich vs. poor.

as long as we aren’t poor then as a society, i guess it doesn’t matter. insult a rich black man? an american icon? then we have a problem, don’t we?

sports and society will always be intertwined of course. i hope that we don’t lose sight of the importance that it plays.

time to be king.

alright. it’s time. 

anyone who knows me, knows that i’ve led the charge against Lebron James the past couple of years. it really hasn’t been that hard either. he’s made it quite easy the past few seasons, going back to his last years in Cleveland to the infamous “not 1, not 2, not 3…” bit.  i guess all i wanted was to see him be the “Chosen One” on the court. in my mind, he needed to be “King James” on the court for the whole 48 minutes of a game.  anytime you self-anoint yourself the “king” of anything, you would hope you have already conquered the prize. and he didn’t. and he hasn’t. still. 

not yet. 

however this post-season, Lebron has become the man we have waiting for. in the clutch. it’s time that we all admit it. Lebron is what we have been waiting for, even hoping for. he is the go-to guy in the clutch for the Miami Heat. quite simply, there is nothing more he can do to prove it.

what more do we want? the dude averaged 33.8 points, 11 rebounds and 3.9 assists against the Boston Celtics. oh and the idea that he cannot shoot the ball well? he shot 52.7% from the field. the theory that he cannot come up big when it matters?  

32, 34, 34, 39, 30, 45, 31. 

that’s what he scored in order in the seven game series against the Celtics. 

all he does is score? 

13, 10, 8, 6, 13, 15, 12.

those were his rebounding numbers. 

look. i get it. trust me.

i’m definitely a Kevin Durant guy. he stands for everything i like about an athlete. and i will be rooting for the thunder in this series. Durant doesn’t need the bright lights. he signed long-term in Oklahoma City before he knew they would be THIS good. he is a loyal dude who doesn’t seem like he will bolting for a bigger market.

but with that being said, Lebron is the best player in the NBA. there isn’t anything he needs to do to prove that. it’s just time to be king on the court.